UMD's Connolly wins Hobey Baker Award

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UMD's Jack Connolly

Photo: Bruce Bisping, Star Tribune

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TAMPA, FLA. - Senior center Jack Connolly of Minnesota Duluth was named the winner of the Hobey Baker Award, given to the top player in Division I college hockey, on Friday.

He thanked all the right people in his acceptance speech at MacDill Air Force Base, which ended with, "I would like to thank the Duluth community, the fans at UMD. Everybody has been so supportive. It has just a spectacular time to play college hockey in my hometown."

As a senior Connolly scored 20 goals and had 60 points, which ranks second nationally, for the Bulldogs, who were NCAA champions last year.

"I think Jack epitomizes what the award is about," UMD coach Scott Sandelin said. "Obviously, he was a tremendous leader and an offensive catalyst for our team. He had a remarkable career and an even more remarkable senior season. Most of all, Jack has always represented our program in a first-class way, and I couldn't be happier for him."

Connolly became the record fifth UMD player to win the Hobey Baker. He joins Tom Kurvers (1984), Bill Watson (1985), Chris Marinucci (1994) and Junior Lessard (2004).

The two other Hobey Baker finalists were Maine forward Spencer Abbott and Colgate forward Austin Smith.

All-America teams named

Connolly also was named to the West first All-America team, announced by the American Hockey Coaches Association.

Goalie Kent Patterson and forward Nick Bjugstad of the Gophers were named to the West second All-America team, as were forwards J.T. Brown of UMD and Jason Zucker of Denver.

BC leery of Ferris State

Boston College coach Jerry York said Friday that his Eagles have a lot of respect for Ferris State, their opponent in Saturday's national championship game.

"Any team than can win the CCHA," York said, "Michigan's in there, Michigan State's in there, Miami's in there, some really powerful, powerful teams. And you have Ferris that won the championship."

Basketball tip for BC

Boston coach Doc Rivers gave the BC players some advice that York appreciated. "'Our goal with the Celtics, as your goal with BC should be: Be a star in your role,'" York said, recalling Rivers' comments.

"So whether you're Johnny Gaudreau, probably the best freshman in college hockey," York said, "or you're Michael Sit, playing seven, eight minutes in his first year at BC, we want him to be a star in his role."

Gaudreau has 20 goals and 43 points; Sit, a fourth-line center from Edina, has three assists in 38 games.

Attacking Eagles

Ferris State coach Bob Daniels was impressed the way BC attacked the net in a 6-1 romp over the Gophers in Thursday's semifinals.

"The first goal they scored last night was really one that probably typifies their team, I'm guessing," Daniels said. "The guy went hard to the net, and it was a combination of skill and effort coming together.

"The very few mistakes that they made in their own end, the goaltender was able to erase that. The way they attack the net, the way they move offensively made it fun to watch."

Contains information from the Associated Press.

  • NOTES • NCAA final: Ferris State vs. Boston College • 6 p.m. today • Tampa, Fla. • TV: ESPN2

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